4th June 2012
Minor Characters and their Importance to the Play
In Greek tragedies, the most commonly identified character is the tragic hero which is often either the protagonist or the antagonist. In fact, readers have often neglected the importance of minor characters and their huge impact on the play. In Julius Caesar, a Greek tragedy written by Shakespeare, minor characters like the soothsayer and Pindarus contribute to the play by altering the possible outcomes.
At the beginning of the play, Caesar had just returned to Rome after defeating Pompey. Caesar was welcomed and praised by the citizens of Rome, except for one man, the Soothsayer. Even though he didn’t praise Caesar, the Soothsayer didn’t criticize or condemn him either; instead, he warned Caesar. He told Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” but Caesar, too proud and majestic, did not listen to the Soothsayer. This provides evidence that the Soothsayer contributes to the play by foreshadowing the tragedy that would happen on the fifteenth of March. Even on the Ides of March, he told Caesar that “the Ides of March has come but has not past”. This also hints the readers further that tragedy will fall upon Caesar.
During the Battle of Philippi, Brutus and Cassius were initially dominating. However, they eventually lost, and the turning point of the battle started with the death of Cassius, which was indirectly caused by Pindarus, another minor character. Pindarus was a prisoner of war, but instead of killing him, Cassius chose to trust him and to have him serve as a soldier under Cassius. After Cassius sent Titinius to check the camps, Pindarus was ordered to go up the hills and confirm Titinius’s survival. Pindarus misunderstood what he saw. Pindarus misinterpreted the people’s actions as they were surrounding Titinius. They were celebrating in victory, not for the purpose of killing them. Because of this misinterpretation, Cassius committed suicide and the...